Five Minutes to Love

By: Jennifer Wilck

Serendipity, Book 2


Aviva grabbed her ball, patted his arm,

and aimed at the pins. Strike. She didn’t move. Jacob couldn’t figure out why she stood still, until her shoulders began to shake.

She was laughing. At him.

She turned around. Tears ran down her face. She inhaled. “I’m sorry. I swear I have no idea how it happened.”

“Sure you don’t.” As his grin widened, he bit the insides of his cheeks, folded his arms and did his best to look sad. “What a way to get a guy when he’s down.”

“You’re not down. You just challenged the bowling gods. They don’t like human challengers.”

“Bowling gods?”

“Of course. How else do you think we recreational bowlers manage it?” She stepped toward him. Her green eyes were wide with fake innocence.

“Bowling gods.”

“Exactly. You challenged them.” At this point, they were toe-to-toe. Her floral scent wafted around him. He refocused on her words.

“As you like to say, Aviva, technically, I challenged you.”

“Yes, but with bowling skill, so you actually challenged them too.”

She looked supremely satisfied with her circuitous bowling logic. Jacob had an urge to kiss her. Her lips were full and pink and tantalizingly close.








Dedication

To Lisa Kanner and Michelle Mena

for entertaining me/helping me

with speed-dating stories.

It was fun and informative

and I couldn’t have written this

without your help.





Chapter One

“Mom, he didn’t stop talking about himself the entire time.”

Aviva Shulman sank onto her bed, phone to her ear. She kicked off her patent leather heels. The fluffy down comforter enveloped her. For the first time all evening, she heaved a sigh of relief.

“Oh, honey, maybe he was just nervous.”

Aviva snorted. “Him? According to his credentials, which he presented to me in writing when we sat at the bar, he closes multimillion-dollar real-estate deals with the über-wealthy on a regular basis.”

“He does sound pretty bad.”

She put on sweats and a T-shirt, juggling the phone against her shoulder. Noise filtered in from other twenty-somethings on their pub-crawl up and down Washington Street in Hoboken. She turned away in disgust. She’d had enough. “Yeah, well, tonight’s date wasn’t even the worst. Last weekend I was set up with Mr. Helmethead. I’m not sure there was even hair under the gel. The weekend before, Mr. Grabbyhands wouldn’t let go of my boobs. I think he thought they were squeaky toys.”

“Aviva, honey, I don’t think I want to hear this.”

She laughed, turned off the light, and snuggled into the covers. “Don’t worry, Mom, I’ll keep it PG for your sake. I promise. But I’m getting tired of all these professional types. They remind me too much of…” She winced as she edited what she was about to say to her mother.

“Dad works hard and tries his best for us, honey. Don’t be discouraged. I’m sure it will get better. You’ll find your Prince Charming someday.”

Relieved her mom let her comment go, she relaxed once again. “That’s not saying much. These days, my job makes me feel like Cinderella minus her Fairy Godmother.”

“Don’t disparage yourself, Aviva. You’ve worked hard for your position. You’re good at PR. I’m not just saying that because I’m your mother. Not everyone gets a promotion after only six months, or a handwritten thank you note from a client.”

Aviva felt a suspicious prickle behind her eyes. Her chest swelled. “Oh, Mom, I love you.”

“I love you too.”

“I think I need a break from dating, though. I haven’t met anyone even halfway decent in months. I’d be better off alone than with these peacocks.”

“Then take a break, honey. Just don’t get a cat.”

The next evening, Aviva slipped her key into the lock. In slow motion, she turned it to the right. The tumbler clicked. She held her breath. When no one called out or made a sound, she eased the door open and tiptoed inside. She shut the door, removed her shoes, and padded through the living room toward her bedroom.

“Aviva, you’re home! I was waiting for you.”